Friday, October 24, 2003

This is in the business section of today's New York Times -- the Times apparently doesn't consider it to be "real" (general-interest) news:

House Leaders Are Pushing to Cut Corporate Taxes

House Republican leaders are nearing agreement on a bill to give nearly $60 billion in additional tax breaks to corporations, brushing aside Democratic complaints that the measure would deepen the federal budget deficit.

According to a draft circulated among Republican lawyers, the bill, which is expected to come up for a vote next week at the House Ways and Means Committee, would gradually reduce the corporate tax rate for most companies from 35 to 32 percent.

It would also relax or abolish a number of longstanding tax regulations on foreign profits of American multinationals, a move that Congressional tax analysts say could save companies more than $40 billion in taxes over the next decade....

The proposals are in the latest draft of a bill to replace a tax break for American exporters that the World Trade Organization has declared an illegal trade subsidy....

Repealing the old tax break would bring the Treasury about $50 billion over 10 years, and the bill would raise nearly $30 billion more by blocking a variety of tax shelters and loopholes. But the new tax breaks would be worth about $142 billion over 10 years, leaving the net cost to the government at about $60 billion over the next decade.

Drafted by Representative Bill Thomas of California, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the new proposal is less generous to companies than one he floated earlier this year that would have cost $128 billion.

The new proposal does not include a provision, for example, that would allow American companies to bring back to this country hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign profits at a small fraction of the normal United States tax rate.

Mr. Thomas also dropped a provision that would have extended through 2007 a tax credit for research and development, which was supposed to expire.

But corporate lobbyists and Congressional officials said they hoped to reinstate many of those provisions in separate legislation or during a House-Senate conference committee on this bill....


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